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NextSTEP B: FabLab

Solicitation Number: NNHZCQ001K-ISM-Fablab

April 11, 2017 – Abstract posted
May 3, 2017 – Appendix B issued | Announcement
Dec. 7, 2017 – Selections Announced

Picture of a tactile sensor.
Replacement sensors are vital to space ship environmental systems, and must be fabricated on demand.

NASA is seeking proposals for development of a first-generation, in-space, multi-material fabrication laboratory, or FabLab, for space missions. The FabLab solicitation is issued as Appendix B of the NextSTEP-2 BAA.

The FabLab development strategy will be implemented in three phases with the objective of the final phase to demonstrate a commercially developed FabLab on the International Space Station. This solicitation seeks responses only to Phase A, in which private industry partners will produce ground-based prototypes with a measurable ability to mature into flight demonstrations on the space station within three years.

For FabLab Phase A, NASA is requesting ground prototypes designed to be compatible with the space station’s EXPRESS Racks and capable of remote-controlled operations from Earth to manufacture multi-material components, including metals. Phase A selectees will have 18 months to deliver the prototype, after which NASA will determine which, if any, partners will continue to Phase B to further mature their technologies on the NextSTEP development path. Phase B details, including the maturation path to the final Phase C, will be released under a different solicitation. 

The FabLab proposal submission window closed on Sept. 15, 2017. 

NASA hosted an informational industry forum May 25, 2017, to provide details about the NextSTEP Appendix B (FabLab) solicitation and answer questions from prospective responders to the FabLab Appendix. The briefing package is available here:

 NextSTEP FabLab Industry Forum Briefing Package
The attendee list is provided here, to facilitate teaming among interested organizations:
 FabLab Industry Day Attendees
Questions received and answered are documented here:
 FabLab Q&A Log – Updated 27 July 2017

NextSTEP-2 is an Omnibus BAA that solicits proposals through appendices in areas including, but not limited to:

  • Studies to support mission architecture definition;
  • New approaches to rapidly develop prototype systems;
  • Demonstration of key capabilities;
  • Validating operational concepts for future human missions beyond low-Earth orbit; and
  • End-to-end design, development, test, and in-space evaluation of future flight systems. 

For more information, read the NextSTEP-2 Synopsis​. 

Learn more about NASA’s NextSTEP public-private partnership model that seeks to stimulate the commercial space industry and help the agency explore deep space for the benefit of all.